The making of “The Clam”

A personal ad was placed pseudonymously in some of the alt.personals.* newsgroups reading:

SWF, 24, ND/NS (& seeking same), testing positive for the clam, but feeling positive about it too, ISO SM, 20-30, open-minded, fit, young-at-heart. No one-night-stand clam diggers! Serious only.

It received many responses; a great many of which respected the “Somebody Else’s Problem Field” around the clam reference. To those people who asked me about the clam, I sent one or more of my phony clam articles (and sometimes got further replies, which are also found below). Abbreviations like SWF (single white female), ND/NS (no drugs or smoking), ISO (in search of) and SM (single male) are standard shorthand in the personals genre.

Reviewing the responses arrayed below renews my suspicion that the alt.personals.* newsgroups are not the best places to find a soulmate.

Hi, I am SWM and I think we may match, non smoker, non drinker 5'11" but I do not understand ND/NS? can you explain..

Hope to hear from you..

I’m sure by now your mailbox must have been full of mail from guys all over the world. :) I encourage you to take some time and sort them out and throw away some of the garbage they sent.

Anyways, I’m 22, I work in Oakland and graduated from Berkeley about a year ago. I love travelling, going places, meeting new people, bike-riding, movies, dancing, comedy clubs, musicals, plays, beaches, anything! I’m pretty open-minded and willing to try out new stuff. I also like going to cafes, and simply hang out there with friends.

I don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, I don’t dig body arts/piercing either. :) Well if I sound like someone you wnna get in touch with, let me know! Would love to hear from ya.

Take care!

so, what is the clam?

I hope I’m not showing myself to be a complete idiot, but what is the “clam?”

I’m looking for someone that likes to travel, explore new things, and just have fun.

I’m in good shape, spending about 5-10 hours a week at the gym, and very open minded about most things.

Hi my name is ——, This can never be easy to do over the internet so i’ll not go into to much detail. I’m a college student majoring in Marine Biology, I study dolphins and metaphisics. I LOVE adventure and anything physicaly challenging. I’m into Sports, Mt. Biking, hiking, baseball (Go NY Yankees) and romance…MAJOR REQUIREMENT. As far as looks go, I get stopped and asked If I’m David Schimmer (Friends: Ross) I think I look better.…I’m really not a bad looking guy, I model if that helps you picture me. I won’t lie, I would be partial to an attractive women then not, but I really think the “Connection” is more important. In any case FRIENDS first…But I do want to meet someone nice that I can share my thought, concepts and imagination with.….

what is the clam you are talking about


We are a very happy couple whit so much love we would like to share it with another women. We are kind and loving is this somethis you might be interested in?

I sorry I must be living under a rock what does testing positive for the clam mean?

Hi there, saw your post on alt.personals. You sound really cool. The N/S and N/D is a very big plus for me as I am the same. I’m 23, 6'1" 200 lbs brown hair and blue/green eyes. I’m not drop dead gorgeous, but pleasant to look at. I play guitar and write poetry (boy, aint I a wild one) and I’m ready go out and live life, drink its wine to the last succulant drop. (oh, how cliched :)) Well, if nothing else, I’m not boring. So where ya from? I wouldnt be willing to bet that you’re from East Texas, but maybe you are and the Gods have smiled on us, and brought us together. Ya never know, like my old pappy used to saw. Don’t worry, I don’t use the term, “pappy” in real life. Just thought u might find it amusing. :) Did I mention I’m a little goofy? But shy and sweet too. The kinda guy that moms like to invite over for supper and hope their daughters will marry. Maybe, that’s why I’m still single. Who knows? Well, now I must go (told ya I was a poet *wink*), but hopefully, you’ll write back, and I can shower u with more charm and fun. :) take care

I’m the one for you. E-mail me some more at: ———

Only if you’re a female!

So thanx for sending me that information on “clams” Well, so where are you located? Does your “disease” make it difficult meeting people or do people not even care? And so you just have like bumps in your crotch area or how does that work? I'm just curious, well, please writ back…

“testing positive for the clam”


what on earth are you talking about?

is it some serious disease????

My name is —— and I am ND/NS. Currently 20 (going to be 21 within the month) and always an optimist. I’m 5'7" and 175 lbs and working to lower it a little more with weights, cycling, and ballroom dance (yes, you heard it right). Definitely not interested in the one-night-stands but definitely interested in talking and continuing communication to lead further down the road. If I sound interesting (other than being humble) write back. :)

Thanks for reading mine amongst millions,

What does ND/NS stand for???

hi. read your add. I think i fit the description quite well. email me if interested.

My name is ——. I would like to establish communication with you, get to know you. I am 28 y/o, 5'8", like sports, nice looking. Please tell me more about you. Hope to hear from you soon. Bye!!!

Hi there,

Roses are red, violets are blue, and if you reply this letter I will be really really happy…okay so it didn’t rhythme. :) I am a 23y/o single male from San Jose California.…want to know more…you would just have to write back to find out more! :)

swf if you really are positive with the clam than you need my clam tools to relive the pressure.

Hi there.. I saw your ad that you posted and it cought my eye. I would like to know more about you. I am 24, 5'11" tall, brown hair and hazel eyes. I weight ~190 lbs. What area do you live in? I am interested in hearing from you. Thanks and hope to talk to you soon.

Well I would have to first ask what do you mean by clam+???? second I am a male 20 looking for long term in your area…if you are intersted please write thanx…

Hello Dawn, my name is ——. I am from Canada. I would assume that you are looking for someone who is a Non-Drinker, and a Non-Smoker? For the Clam? Don't know what you mean by this?

I am 26 yo, an Assistant Manager at a small but established resaraunt where I live. I generally don’t drink, only occasionally as in birthdays, special occasions, or spending holiday seasons with family. I don’t smoke and actully almost choke when a friend or family does…my area of home is totally smoke free!

I am currently looking for a solid relationship that will lead to marriage and children…hope that is specific for you? If this is what you meaning by staying away from CLAMS?

I am a person who knows what I want from life and what I want to give back to the society!

In other words, IF I am given a serious and sincere type of friendship/relationship, I give the same back…respectfully of course!

If you are interested in chatting through email for now, I am interested in hearing from you!

Hello, I enjoyed your post. I am 33 years old and live in Ottawa, On. I am employed as a Captain in the Canadian Army. Presently, I am a doing a masters in neuropsychology. I am waiting to get into medical school. I am 6' 2" tall, dark hair, blue eyes, lean fit body. I enjoy history, philosophy and travel.

I am looking to meet and communicate with people from around the world. I love to share ideas. I am also looking for travel ideas and am open to the idea of meeting a woman. Would you tell me about yourself?

What is the “clam?” Clamydia?


Be well.


My name is Tony. I would be interested in talking with you. Please email me and I will send you a pic of me so you can get an idea what I look like.

is 32 too old?

Well I’m 22 don't drink or smoke or do drugs, I’m openminded and fit (I play basketball every day for 2-3hours) If your interested write back and we can exchange more information.

where from and what is Nd/ns?

Sorry, but I'm not in yer age-range*, but was curious about what “clam” is <blushes in his ignorance>. Would appreciate any few-liner descriptoid ya might choose to send.

Many thanks. Good luck with your search. :-)


Compliment of the season to you, I have read your Ad posted few days ago. I’m really interested in discussing with you. Please reply this message so we can discuss more.

I am interested. I am SWM, 21, blue eyes brown hair, 145lbs. What would you like to know? Write back soon

Where would you be writing from? Write back…


You sounded interesting, but what is testing positive for the clam? I’m in Clovis ( Fresno area), and looking for poly friends. Been there and prefered that. Talk to you soon?—

What on Earth!!! does this have to do with a personals ad? Can you answer that question?

Well, I re-read the original reply, and I have to say that if this is true I hope that some research money can be poured into solving the problems with this malady. But, besides that, tell me a bit about yourself. I’m in Fresno, and probably close to your 805 return address. What do you like to do for fun, what do you want from life, etc. I’ll write back, if you like. What is your real name, besides —— I mean. What do you look like…? At this point you're intriguing to say the least! Ciao for now,

Any interest in a single asian chinese male?

Hi Doris, I do not know what Mollusca is. Will you educate me please? BTW, what town do you live in? I’m in Milpitas, CA


Where are you living ? Can you explain to me what you mean by : testing positive for the clam ? and ISO SM ?

and sorry for the questions !

Hey there…I hope not to sound ignorant, but what is clam and what does nd/ns stand for. if you wish to talk, write back…

Hi. This is a dumb question, but what exactly do you mean by you’ve tested positive for the clam? Is that some kinda disease? But from your last sentence it seems like there is a different meaning.. Anyways if you have time, get back to me. I seriously hope you’re not some guy named —— who is posting this…

Where are you, and what are you looking for in a guy?

I am new I guess, but what does ND/NS stands for? Do you mind spending some time in explaining it to me?

What (or where) does ND/NS stand for? I am unfamiliar with alt.personals.* abbreviations. On the other hand, I might fit your specifications.

I’m a very serious man who want to talk with you to know each other better. if you’re interested in a kind, intelligent and charming Italian 24 y.o. guy, then write to me and we'll get friends. I’m waiting for you!

Can you give us more information about Mollusca credulis mentioned in your email message. Where is this being done? Is the treatment available? Are the statistics published? Please advise.

Hi there,

First things first. What is the clam?

saw your posting and was interested…me SWM, 20, living in Toronto, 5'11, 175 lbs

WOW! I did not expect you to send me this long mail about the disease known as ‘the clam’. But thanks. Looking back at your msg, it seems like you’re a male then? Cause you said you’re not looking for ‘clam diggers’ and in the long mail you just sent me, that is referring to females..

I am not interestedm=, I am just curious as hell to what the “Clam” is? PLease let me know as this has me perplexed. Thanks

Hi Dawn,

I feel silly for having to ask this, but I don't understand what testing positive for the clam means. Never seen that reference before.

Soooooo. Anyway. My name is &mdas;—. I’m an SWM who will be 21 in less than a month <:) I don’t smoke or do drugs, of course. I’m in my third or fourth year (I forget sometimes:) ) at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and am taking summer classes and working part-time for the time being.

Hope to hear back from you (with an answer :) )


Two questions: 1 – Where are you located?
2 – Will you go as high as 33 years old?

Write back and answer these and give any other info you wish to give…

Saw your note in the newsgroup. I’m 32, 6'2" herpes+, hiv−. Live in SoCalifornia and would like to hear from you. Will be looking for your reply

I hope this is not a stupid question but what does ND/NS mean?

Is your name Dawn?

Where are you located? I am a 23 yo SWM.… more later.…

I don’t qualify to become your SO but I thought I’d ask you what you mean by ‘clam.’

I have a question, please educate me. What are clams? How do you test positive to them?

Thanks in advance,

What the hell is a clam??..Clam-positve?..Clam digger?

Thank you for enlightening me on what ‘clam’ is. I had never heard of it before! In my case, I doubt that it would affect my already humungous sex drive; I’ve always been this way so it’s not that I have had this ‘disease.’ Tell me more about your experiences with it. How do you think you got it, how large was the lesion, and what effects have you noticed?

I fit your profile (I think). but don't know what is the clam? I don’t have any.


Well…having seen your ad in soc.penpals this summer…I thought I would write you…even though it's now the fall. :-) Anyhow, hi there! *smile* My name’s ——…I’m 22 years old…from Springfield, Virginia… I’m in college and am majoring in Communications. Interests? Well, they include the outdoors…movies…music…hiking…biking…roadtrips… photography…traveling…building models…being creative in other ways…reading…bowling…rollerblading…watching Must-See TV… writing…making new friends…the beach…the mountains…amusement parks… and being on-line. *smile* That’s basically just a few of ’em, though… My creativity and imagination are probably two of my main qualities/skills. I tend to be good-natured, caring, friendly, helpful, and at times, even funny. :)

Anyways, just thought I would say hello… Perhaps you'd like to become penpals…or friends… =) Well, have a great weekend and Oktober!!! :) Take care…best of luck…

I’m sorry, I don’t mean to embarrass you (if that’s what I end up doing) but I’m not familiar with the abbreviations you used above.

I think they mean this:

ND no disease
NS no smoking

You lost me on the clam part, unless that was a typo. Regardless, I"m 24 SWM, live just south of Houston, work for Dow Chemical, graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. I’m stable, trustworthy, and a Christian. I’d send you a longer message introducing myself, but I figure that you probably got about 100 messages cause of the SWF part of the message. Drop me a short note if you would like to know more. Well, drop me a short note about the clam part anyway please.

Do I know you have you ever been to louiaiana

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On This Day in SniggleryApril 25, 1983: Two million copies of Stern magazine, containing the first excerpts from the diaries of Adolf Hitler, hit news stands. (See The Hitler Diaries for more info)